Tir na nOg secure their Division 1 status with excellent Corrigan victory

ACFL Division 1B

St. John’s 0-11 Tir na nOg 3-13

Goals from Darragh Fagan, Ciaran O’Neill and Eamon Og McAllister saw Tir na nOg, Randalstown secure their division 1 status for another season when they produced a polished display to complete the league double over St. John’s at Corrigan Park on Sunday.

The Whitehill side went into Sunday’s game knowing that even a narrow defeat would be enough to keep them in the top grade but from the throw in it was obvious that they were not going to settle for that as they went about their business with deadly efficiency.

Aaron McNeilly and Ciaran Dobbin settled the visitors with early points before Darragh Fagan put them in control when he got through for a goal in the 6th minute.

Conor Adams opened the Johnnies account from a free in the 10th minute but the Randalstown side were playing some excellent football and with the wind behind them they continued to stretch the home defence.

Ciaran Dobbin was finding acres of space out on the left and he placed Aaron McNeilly who fired over when well-placed and might have had a goal in the 12th minute.

The momentum was very much with the visitors as Christy Sheerin’s astute pass from mid-field was just inches out of reach of Darragh Fagan who was right through but the big full-forward made amends with a great point immediately after.

St. John’s were battling hard to get their own game together as Conchur Hand scored their second point in the 17th minute but Fagan replied from a pointed free before Ciaran O’Neill fired home their second goal following another defence splitting move.

Conchur Adams replied with his second converted free to bring the home side’s total to 0-3 but once again the visitors replied and Aaron McNeilly pointed a free at the other end to move Tir na nOg 10 ahead by the 24th minute.

St. John’s introduced Joe Garland for Conal Bohill who seemed to be carrying an injury and they kicked the final point of the half through Conall Quinn to trail 0-4 to 2-7 at half time but with the wind at their back in the second half.

St. John’s introduced Ronan McCafferty for Ross Hannigan and Matthew Layden for Adrian Oliver at the start of the second half with Layden taking over in goals and Padraig Nugent moving into defence.

The home side were swiftly off the mark as Locky McCurdy pointed but the South West side were quick to reply as Darragh Fagan split the uprights at the other end.

Back came St. John’s with a point from Conall Quinn and with the fresh breeze behind them they began to enjoy a bit of success as Locky McCurdy and Conchur Adams brought their total to 0-8 and another from Adams closed the gap to five by the 10th minute.

The visitors looked in a bit of trouble for the first time in the game but Darragh Fagan settled them with their second point of the half from a 17th minute free and then fired over with a goal at his mercy.

Joe Garland pointed for the Johnnies to close the gap to six at the end of the third quarter but the momentum was very much back with the Whitehill side and Matthew Layden had to be sharp of his line to deny Eamon Og McAllister.

The visitors continued to press forward and Aaron McNeilly kicked a good point and then fisted another before Ryan Crilly somehow screwed his shot wide of the post from the edge of the square as the visitors began to turn the screw.

Tir na nOg continued to probe and move the ball around confidently and Christy Sheerin sent over a good point in the 22nd minute as they began to run down the clock before Eamon Og McAllister made the points secure with a late goal.

A good win for Tir na nOg that will see them play their football again in division 1 next season but before that happens there is more immediate business to attend to.

They begin their Senior Championship campaign at the same venue on Friday night in Group 1 against the same opponents and will hope to build on today’s result but are likely to face a stronger St. John’s side.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.